Connecting the human way
I’m from the generation that queued up at pay-phones, can remember computers the size of rooms and during my accountancy training worked with companies that had hand written ledgers. This morning finds me huddled over my laptop trying to get to grips with “word press” and launch my own website!
That’s a lot of change, in what I like to think is only a short space of time, however are we sometimes forgetting the basic human stuff?
A couple of weeks ago with a new venture in mind I signed myself up for a LinkedIn course, delivered by Value Exchange, how to describe the emotion as I headed to the venue? Something akin to sheer terror captures it quite nicely!
As the mother of 3 millennial daughters there are several mental blocks for me, payphone mother, around IT and yes, said daughters are more than happy to delight in my ineptitude, “why do you have to stop walking to text” “I didn’t know that you could fit font size 28 on your mobile” on and on it goes so is it any wonder that all things digital and specifically social media strike fear into my fingertips.
However walking into the room, greeted by the smiling faces of people sitting around a table talking, the fear slowly started to evaporate and finally dissipated when lesson no 1 and a recurring theme of the day was delivered by Nigel– our instructor for the day.
Don’t hide behind your laptop and forget your manners, remember whatever you are writing, a human being will still receive it albeit via a piece of technology
It also turns out that if you are looking for guidance on how to behave on LinkedIn you quite simply apply the same rules for how you would behave in a physical networking environment.
It’s a great barometer and one that we should apply across all things digital, re read that email you’re about to send, if you couldn’t actually deliver the message in person to the recipient, don’t send it.
So back to LinkedIn and the basics, your profile picture, and don’t even bother reading on if you don’t have one, or if it’s a lovely family holiday snap, there is something much more important you need to do RIGHT NOW!
Every time you comment or post, your profile picture pops up, so the rules are simple, are you looking at everyone in the way you would if you were in the same room with them or about to start negotiating a deal with them?
Don’t worry if there’s naming and shaming going on, I was there! I’ve never actually entered a room walking sideways but my profile picture did!
Don’t be a LinkedIn bore, a conversation hogger, if you’re working on your profile or making new connections then turn your activity broadcasts off! Whilst you might be super excited it’s hardly ground breaking is it?
Not really the stuff that will further LinkedIn’s original mission
to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.
Back to the good old manners, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
And you haven’t got the time to tell me why? If you want someone to connect with you don’t just give them your business card and walk away, have a chat, share a bit of information and then ask to connect, really its not going to be the start of a long and lasting relationship if you can’t take the time to suggest why there might be value in the connection.
The other big lesson underpinning making connections is around trust. It’s easy in the excitement of building your reputation to play the numbers game, again guilty as charged!
But do you know and trust your connections enough to recommend them to others?
Build a relationship as you would in life, if you are invited to connect, send a reply asking why, letting them know that you are part of a group of trusted connections and asking why they are motivated to connect.
These are just a few thoughts from the day, which was hugely rewarding and a great reminder of the power and strength of human relationships, so start posting, connecting and sharing but imagine that you are sitting with friends in their garden in the sunshine, as I was lucky enough to be yesterday, smile and take your turn to make conversation and you will be part of a supportive and trusting network and grow and learn as a result.
Image by Luis Llerena